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Starting Point

News/Business. Soledad O'Brien. Soledad O'Brien looks ahead to the days top news and events. New.

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U.s. 57, Libya 55, Yemen 33, Us 28, Benghazi 28, Egypt 26, United States 13, Cairo 13, America 10, Berlin 10, Tripoli 10, Obama 9, Mccain 7, Pentagon 6, John 6, Gadhafi 6, Tehran 6, Chris Stevens 6, Cnn 5, Barbara Starr 5,
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  CNN    Starting Point    News/Business. Soledad O'Brien. Soledad O'Brien  
   looks ahead to the days top news and events. New.  

    September 13, 2012
    4:00 - 5:59am PDT  

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now. breaking news here this early thursday morning. we have iran, yemen, egypt, and libya. we're talking about all four this morning. new clashes now and anger. it's really spreading throughout the middle east in the overnight hours. cnn reporting mobs, protesters outside a swiss embassy in tehran, iran, which handles u.s. interests there and at the u.s. embassies in sanaa, that is a capital of yemen, and of course, in cairo in egypt. >> we want to get right to iran right now. we are on the phone with shirrzod, who hopefully can tell us what's going on in tehran. what is the latest, shirzad? >> the protests against this new anti-islam film took about two hours, it started about noon local time, about 2 1/2 hours ago, and wrapped up about half an hour ago. there are only about a dozen
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riot, anti-riot police still stationed around the embassy compound, but i didn't see anything move inside or inside the embassy at all, i couldn't see anything. i don't know if there's anybody in there at all or not. but the protests are very peaceful. the crowds of university students were kept well away from the embassy compound by the police and anti-riot police. there were no arrests made. there were no violence whatsoever. it was a very peaceful demonstration and the students read a statement at the end that supported their egyptian and libyan brethren in their recent acts and they said that they sympathize with their feelings. but other than that, the whole thing was peaceful. >> and that's great to hear, given the other scenes playing out in other parts of the middle east. shirzad, i wanted to make it clear, if people were wondering why it is they're protesting outside of the swiss embassy, that represents u.s. interests in tehran. and just final question to you,
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as you were there and you were talking to these students protesting peacefully, what are they saying specifically about americans? >> well, i didn't -- i wasn't there when that was at the height of the protests. i got toward the end of it, and they were just wrapping up. but as usual, they blame the united states, israel, and the west in general, and the main protest was, again, as you said, the recent claim that was made that it appeared to be anti anti-islamic. and they issued statements in support of their federal students in egypt and libya. >> all right, shirzad live on the ground in tehran where the protests seem to be over. there were other protests around the region overnight, much larger protests in the capital of sanaa. mohammed jamjoom joins us on the phone right now. he is in beirut, but he has been watching theeldispsed. it was initially between 2,000
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to 3,000 angry demonstrators, angry over this film that had emerged through the u.s. embassy in sanaa earlier today, but now it's only in the dozens. what we were told by eyewitnesss witnessing all of this is that this was an angry crowd and that at least five or six members of this crowd had been able to breach the compound's security, had been able to get to one of the main gates and break one of the windows, but initially yemeni security forces shot into the air to try to disperse the crowd. but then more yemeni security were deployed in and around the embassy. we're told about a thousand member of the yemenis security forces came out to protect the embassy and eventually employed a water cannon as well. now, one of the key things we heard today from officials was the yemeni security, that they were very concerned that this crowd could turn more violent and more angry and were trying to calm the situation down. at one point, they were trying to push the crowd back by using
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batons, rather than threatening with their guns or their rifles, because they didn't want to anger the crowd even more than that. >> we've been watching the pictures all morning, and this did appear like a very large crowd. it was tumultuous. as you said, it was the yemeni security forces who ultimately turned them back. was this difficult? were u.s. forces involved at all from inside the embassy? >> reporter: john, we've not been able to reach u.s. officials. we don't know yet if they were evacuated the embassy or what's been going on inside the embassy. they've not issued any statement as to what the security situation is within the u.s. embassy right now, or if any of the u.s. security officials inside the embassy compound were involved in trying to repel that crowd. we do know, however, that the yemeni government was quite concerned. we've already seen a statement by a spokesperson for the yemeni embassy in washington. he says the situation has calmed down sufficiently. the yemeni government also strongly condemning what happened today, saying the situation needs to calm down.
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they were quite concerned, and glad there have been no casual 't casualties in what happened today. but essentially, the yemeni government has deployed more security around the situation in sanaa because their afraid the situation could become more volatile. you're talking about a place in the last couple of years, it's been quite commonplace for protests to break out within moments. it's very easy for people to organize there and sometimes thiz protesthese protests becom violent. there is a concern that they could try to rally again later in evening and that's what they're going to be watching. >> we're looking at some pictures right now, some tape pictures of what these protests look like overnight. and they got up very close to the entrance of the embassy. and as you said, some, a handful, even breached the outer wall there. that's got to be of immense concern to embassy officials there. >> reporter: that's a huge concern, especially for the yemeni officials we've been speaking with today.
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i've been to sanaa many times, i've reported from there many times. i've been to the u.s. embassy compound many times. that is one of the most heavily a guarded compounds you will find in the capital of sanaa. and arguably, within the entire country. you have yemeni security around there, you have embassy security around there. the question i've been hearing most from the people i've been speaking with is how could an angry crowd have gotten that close to the embassy? how could they have been around to get that close? how could five or six or even ten be ableo breach the compound and get that close? those are the questions right now. we've heard those questions the last couple of days about other embassies as well. but when you're talking about a city where the security situation is as concerning as it is in sanaa, what's happened so that an angry mob that is marching the towards the u.s. embassy could get as close as they did and breach the perimeter of the embassy and that's something that's going to be much discussed and much analyzed in the hours to come. >> thank you very much, mohammed
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jamjoom, following the developments for us in yemen this morning. >> thousannow, the first mob sc first it was egypt, then libya, and now we're watching yemen. i want to talk to you specifically about cairo this morning, where there is still more fallout and really new fury there on the city streets. you see the smoke. they're trading the tear gas, tossing molotov cocktails. this is just outside the u.s. embassy and we have ian lee once again for us in cairo. ian, before we talk about specifically what president morsi has finally said, just set the scene for me right now. >> reporter: well, brooke, right now we have a few hundred protesters, if you can see behind me, they're battling it out with the police, like you said, we're seeing tear gas, seeing rock throwing, seeing at times molotov cocktails. this has been an ongoing battle for over 12 hours now. it has not died down.
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it's still pretty heavy clashes. but this is a very isolated incident. if you look in other directions around me, in other parts of cairo, life is going on as normal. this is really just 300 people going up agait security forces, about a hundred yards outside the u.s. embassy. these protesters are shouting anti-american slogans and their same seems to be like, to go toward the american embassy. but still, it is right now a really war of attrition. neither side really is committed on pushing further, and the police don't seem very committed to crushing this, ending this. they seem very content on just continuing the status quo. the protesters seem very content on continuing the battle with police. so there's ongoing battle. we're past the 12-hour mark and it still has not seen any -- like it's going to die down at all. >> that was my next question. anyone whatsoever was trying
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to restore order to this chaos that is still playing out, as you mentioned, 12 hours later in cairo. we've talked a lot, ian, about reaction or lack thereof from this new leader in egypt, mohammed morsi. i know that finally, unlike the situation in libya, where they immediately came out and condemned the attacks in benghazi, there was a moment before the muslim brotherhood put out a statement on facebook. now we've heard from the president in brussels. tell me what president morsi has said. >> reporter: well, this has been an ongoing thing. after tuesday night, when the protesters stormed the embassy, we immediately heard from the foreign ministry theory in egypt, condemning the attack. but it was really the higher level of government remained quiet. finally the prime minister came out condemning the attack against the embassy, but the first message that president mohamed morsi issued was harsh condemnation against the film that sparked the demonstrations, but really had no harsh criticism of the protesters who
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broke out into the -- or the protesters that broke into the embassy. but today we're hearing a new tune. president mohamed morsi has finally come out with a statement and said that he strongly condemns those who broke into the embassy, saying these are not part of egyptians, these are not muslims. he also said that he is going to provide better security for diplomatic missions in egypt to make sure that protesters aren't able to break into different embassies. and this is something we've been watching for the last year. we've seen the israeli embassy broken into, the syrian embassy broken into. and last tuesday we saw the american embassy breached. and these are, you know, this is something that shows that egyptian security forces, up to now, haven't been able to protect diplomatic missions the from large mobs. well, today, we are seeing the security forces on the ground, cordoning off the u.s. embassy, repelling protesters from it. today, it looks like he's making good on his promise that protesters will not be able to
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go toward anymore diplomatic missions, embassies. >> ian lee for us in cairo. don't go too far from the camera. we're going to come back to you. and just interestingly, we'll talk about this a little later, but in an interview with telemundo, the president specifically said, when talking about egypt, i don't think we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy either. we have another number of members of congress and a senator we'll talk to. but let's talk right now about those navy destroyers. >> we've already been to iran this morning. we've talked about yemen if we were just in cairo. now let's talk about libya again. because rate now, two u.s. navy destroyers are heading right into position off the coast of libya and an elate marine unit is heading to tripoli to help protect the u.s. interests there. cnn's barbara starr is live at the pentagon following this must military response. tell us what's going on now, barbara. >> good morning, sean. good morning, brooke. 50 u.s. marines at the u.s. embassy in tripoli, at the
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capital for reinforcement security. they will help secure the embassy there and aid with any u.s. workers there that need help. but the big issue, of course, is that now the two u.s. navy destroyers sailing to the coast of libya, the "uss mcfaul," the "uss "laboon." why are they so important? they carry tomahawk missiles. this will give president obama another option. we already know unmanned drones flew over libya looking for intelligence on who may have been responsible for the attacks on benghazi, looking at al qaeda-related militant groups, where they are located, where are the encampment, the strongholds? they will gather the intelligence. and two options on the table. libyan forces could try to go after some of these targets once they're identified, or possibly now, the president has the option. he could order those ships to fire their tomahawk missiles
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against those targets. the president said, justice will be done. now some of the options being put into place. john? >> so barbara, drones are looking for them, possible special forces action if we find them or tomahawk missiles. do you have a sense of any time frame here? >> reporter: we believe, you know, the first ship probably already, frankly, within range of any target, the libyan coast. we know that it was very close by in port in the mediterranean. second ship should be there within a couple of days. no indication of u.s. boots on the ground, that we know of. this is likely to be something where the drones overhead will get the intelligence. that will be presented to the president, possibly presented to the libyan authorities. the problem with the libyans being able to go after these targets, this is eastern libya. east of benghazi. al qaeda strongholds and militia strongholds are throughout this
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region. the libyan government has a lot of problems controlling this area, under the control of a lot of tribes. so if you could get the tribes to go after them, that might be an option. but it might be the case that the president will say, okay, now i've got these other things in place. he could also send in drones again, armed with missiles. he could use the tomahawks. it remains to be seen. the president said justice will be done, pieces in place, what will he decide to do? that's the question. >> barbara, here's my question, just listening to you speaking is the fact that the, you know, security on the ground in libya were not obviously strong enough to quell the mobs, just a couple of days ago in benghazi. why should we trust libyans to then take out this potentially al qaeda franchise in eastern libya? >> well, we'll see if a -- try and get the libyans to do that. it is going to be a problem. because as we say, the government of libya, not yet strong enough to really operate east of benghazi in any
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significant way. this is an area controlled by tribes, controlled by militias, so it might well be that the president will decide it will be u.s. military assets that go after the targets. but they're going to want to find -- they're going to want to be able to demonstrate, if you will, whatever target they hit, if they hit one, we want to be clear, we don't know, that if they were to hit a target, that they've got solid intelligence. and you know, they will be looking at intercepts, at communications, at eavesdropping, overhead imagery, intelligence hafrom any militia or tribes on the ground, rather, that are reporting in about what they see. so this could take some time. they're going to want to gather all the information they can and they're going to want to find out if these people have any other plots or plans in the works and try to deal with that as well. >> barbara starr at the pentagon, so much information coming out this morning.
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thank you so much for bringing us the latest. we'll check back with you soon. >> let's talk to someone who certainly knows a thing or two about intelligence. congressman mike rogers from michigan. he's been thoroughly briefed about the situation that's been percolating over the last couple of days in the middle east. mr. chairman, good morning to you. >> good morning. fir first, let's begin with these pictures. live pictures out of the capital of yemen. first we had cairo, then we had benghazi, now lyemen, how do yo interpret this? >> we need more clarification on what u.s. policy is in the middle east. and a little bit of strength now will be incredibly important. so the fact that we are going to pursue with all vigor the folks that perpetrated the crime against our u.s. diplomats stationed in benghazi, the fact that there may be more to this story in egypt about how it was coordinated, was there an information operation with some extremist groups who used the
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protesters to try to penetrate the embassy? and now of course what you see in yemen, these are all opportunities that are stacking up for individuals who want to go after american stations abroad. so this is a very important time for us to have a very clear sense and communicate that to -- across the middle east, what u.s. policy is, how we're going to handle people who cross the wall. this is a pretty serious matter and we've got to stop it now. if we're still talking about other embassies in several weeks, we've got real trouble. >> chairman rogers, you are the chairman of the intelligence committee, privy to some of the information that has been coming out overnight. you have been saying that we may be close to figuring out who exactly these groups were that did perpetrate this. what can you tell us? one group in libya, a separate group in egypt? what do you think right now? >> well, i don't think -- at least today, i don't have anything that would say that they were working together. the effort on the compound in
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benghazi was a clearly coordinated type effort. this wasn't some folks who grabbed some rifles and said, this is a great opportunity, let's go down and shoot up the embassy. >> al qaeda, do you think? >> it certainly has all the hallmarks of an al qaeda operation or an al qaeda affiliate. and one of the things that we've noticed over the last sixes or seven months is that al qaeda in the maghreb northern africa have said they're really eager to strike northeastern targets. we've seen cells in libya and egypt starting to develop. of course, we knew cells in yemen. so we knew that there were activities, and i think this was at least a high-profile example. and remember, the site of benghazi was the target of several months ago of an ied attack. so this is not the first time that they've tried to cause some casualties and kill some americans at this particular site. so we knew all of this was kind of putting together, and it was giving the signature it was at least an al qaeda affiliate organization. >> not the first time, certainly been on the radar, that's an
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understatement, and i know intelligence folks are going to be what they call rescrubbing, looking at, you know, old, old chatter to see if there were any warning signs. were there no warning signs that you knew of that this would have been potentially so carefully planned? >> well, nothing that at least we have seen up to this date. and then, you're right, we'll all go back, and we'll, as our job as the oversight committee, will be to go back and take a look at all of that information, see what we may have missed, and if so, why did we miss it? but the interesting thing, obviously we knew 9/11 is an important date for al qaeda and others who want to cause some harassment to the united states, so security was at least -- they did a scrub around the date, just to see if there was anything out there. didn't seem like there was, but we're going to have to go back. a lot of questions to ask in this. same with egypt, even though it was different, it wasn't a coordinate military-style attack, we know that for months, they have been infiltrating protesters and generatie ining
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protesters, and these are extremist groups who have very anti-american views. we need to understand that they were trying to do more than just protest, and if 9/11 was the day to trigger this event to go over the wall into the embassy. >> i want to talk about egypt. the response from the new leader mohammed morsi has been tepid, to say the least. i think that would be a gross overstatement. he put a statement out on facebook kind of half condemning the violence. and president obama last night gave an interview where he talked about our relationship with egypt using very, very interesting language that i have to say i have never heard before. let's take a listen. >> i don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. they are a new government that is trying to find its way. they were democratically elected. i think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. i think it's still a work in progress, but certainly in this situation, what we're going to expect is that they are responsive to our insistence that our embassy is protected,
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our personnel is protected. >> "not an ally, not an enemy," mr. chairman, do you agree with that statement, especially in light of the fact that they're the second largest recipient of foreign aid to us -- from us. >> well, remember, since 1979, since the accords, they have been an ally, been a very strong ally in the region for peace. which is important. and what happened with this new election is you have a government who is prominently the majority of which is muslim brotherhood, who has made some very interesting and i argue, counterproductive choices. they move tanks into the sinai, that area between israel and egypt that has now become inflamed with violence and weapons and all of those things. that caused a whole bunch of problems. there was some discussion, how do we negotiate bringing the tanks back out of the sinai, very provocative. and they've had over decisions in egypt, including the fact that they were not very responsive on this -- on protecting our embassy in egypt.
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and so they have some -- a little bit of anti-israeli rhetoric, a little bit of anti-american rhetoric. so that's why right now there is a question mark. which direction is egypt going to go? are they going to be a friend, an ally of the united states or are they going to go off on their own path, which is going to set up a whole new set of problems for egypt. and remember, some of this is for domestic politics. they have a horrible economy and it's going to get worse. and sometimes in cases like that, we notice that the easy default is, hey, you might not have a job, have no hope, but let's hate the american or the israelis across the border. and i think there's some of that going on in egypt right now which is very disturbing and will lead to some serious trouble if we don't get this turned around. >> chairman rogers, one final question. and i know as americans are waking up this morning and they're seeing these pictures play out in yemen and other countries, and they're thinking back to the last time we saw this, a celebratory revolution, and they're wondering, is the arab spring coming back to haunt
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us? what's your answer? >> well, i think it's too early to tell. i think there are certainly huge challenges. the problem is, in egypt, there's a great example of the arab spring. the people who caused the uprising, caused the change in government, caused the revolution in egypt aren't really part of the government now. so it was the youth, it was the folks who were disenfranchised, highly educated, very high unemployment, and very well-connected with social media, which is the thing that tipped this thing over, but those people weren't very organized. the muslim brotherhood had been there for a long time. they had a political organization. i think if you sampled the people who helped turn egypt over, they're not -- they're feeling a little disenfranchised, the day that morsi was sworn in. that's the problem you have in the arab spring. and we see it kind of filtering around all over. a little bit in libya, a smaller amount in tunisia, but certainly in egypt, the same in yemen. so you see these changes, where people still -- on the day of
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the free election, still feel disenfranchised. that's something we haven't quite gotten our arms around yet. >> mike rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee, we'll continue this conversation i'm sure at some point. again, breaking news coverage continuing right here all morning long. turmoil spreading across the middle east. protesters furious over this controversial film about muslims made here in the u.s. they have now stormed the grounds of the american embassy in yemen. we're watching all the latest for you. >> also ahead, remembering chris stevens. we've barely talked about him this morning. the ambassador that died in benghazi, the city he helped to save. we'll talk to libya's ambassador to the u.s. "starting point" is back in a moment. up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up.
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welcome back to "starting
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point," everyone. as we've been saying, there is news developing every minute here this morning. and we have still more breaking news. right now it's out of berlin in germany. the u.s. consulate there, we are hearing that there was a letter delivered to the consulate, to an employee there. she opened the letter and apparently fell ill. there are people on the scene right now investigating a substance that was found near the scene. they are questioning a man who delivered the letter right now. there is developing news coming from germany right now. we're going to get on the phone right now with cnn's fred pleitgen right now, who can hopefully shed some light on what's going on right there. >> reporter: hi, there. it really a fluid situation. we're heading out to the scene right now. it's unclear whether or not this letter actually arrived in the mail or whether this person handed in his visa documents to the employee. but what we do know is that a man came up to this visa coro t counter, handed in his documents, including his passport, and then an employee
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of the embassy then said she was feeling ill, was having trouble breathing, there was dizziness involved as well. and we know that a white substance was found in the area, and the berlin police department and the berlin fire department are on the scene. there's a decontamination vehicle, a decontamination unit there as well, and they're obviously probing this substance to see if there's anything to this. as you said, the person who delivered these documents is inside the compound in the vi a advisovisa area and being questioned by police. certainly, this is very much a developing situation right now. >> so, fred, again, just quickly, the person on the receiving end of this document, this packet who's now ill, this person is an american? >> reporter: yes. that's the information we have currently now, that this person is an employee of the embassy, is an american, and has been brought to a hospital. there's also some information that we haven't yet been able to corroborate about whether or not two additional people from the embassy have also been to the
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hospital as well. the police spokesperson that i spoke to just a couple of minutes ago said he didn't have any information about that and wasn't able toonfirm that yet. i'll get that to you as soon as possible. the latest information we have is this is an american, she was in the hospital, she was feeling ill, she was there for treatment as well as observation. >> fred pleitgen, we appreciate that. we want to keep talking. of course, here we are, one day after learning the very tragic news of the loss of ambassador chris stevens, the u.s. ambassador in libya. he was ultimately died in benghazi, just about 24 or 48 hours ago. i want to bring in the libyan ambassador to the united states. he is ali aujali. mr. ambassador, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> and of course, our condolences to the loss of your friend. this is a very personal loss for you.
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can you just share a story about the ambassador? >> well, chris, the ambassador is a hero. he's a libyan hero. i know him about 16 years ago. i know him when he was a member of your embassy in tripoli. and the people will like him. and the administer of foreign affairs, he's a very sociable man. and then when he came back to washington, he's very good at tennis, we play together on the weekend, he come to my house, and we go to the tennis court in one car, and come back and have some breakfast. he's the man with a sense of humor. he's the man that's very sociable. he likes libya. he loved libya. he's tied with the libyan in the past after the revolution. when anybody will go to libya and you mention his name, the people there say, oh, that's chris, that's is a very nice
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man. i lost him as a friend, and i think libya lost a very supportive man, a very supportive man in a very political time, really. >> it is such a big loss. and there are still so many questions about how he died and who killed him, mr. ambassador. you've been quoted as recently as last night saying that you believe that it was associates to the former libyan leader moammar gadhafi who were behind this attack. do you still believe that? >> well, it is very difficult at this time to decide who is really exactly behind it. but if we look to the circumstances and the time when the attack took place, you know, you see that we received or the chief of intelligence, he's a libyan, see that the september 11th, they have a connection. and you see also, for example,
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this week, problems not only in libya and many muslim countries. and people are still working. they have money, especially in the countries, and i cannot snoerg that they are not part of this attack. we have to find out, and i hope that very soon we will find the person responsible for this attack and bring them to justice. >> there are a lot of observers who think that the current libyan government is all too quick to blame the gadhafi regime for all of its problems. i want to read you a quote from human rights watch. it says, "the libyan government has been blaming amorphous pro-gadhafi elements for everything that goes wrong in their country. it's a way of denying the hard truth that the biggest threat they face to their hopes for democracy and the rule of law comes from among their own fellow former revolutionaries." mr. ambassador, are there threats from the very people who helped you take over that country? >> i believe this is right. there are some people who are responsible for the bombing in
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tripoli and they are having a connection with people who are living in neighboring countries and this is true. gadhafi was in power for 42 years. and they are associated and they have money and they are freely moving from one place to another. but i must say, we have a lot of challenge in this time. gadhafi left no institution behind. we have to solve everything from zero. the country under gadhafi, it has no help, the people that desecrate. and after the revolution, the government also have to deal with many issues in tripoli and in different cities and benghazi is part of it. but, of course, we cannot blame the old regime for everything that's happening in libya. now we just yesterday, for the first time in 42 years, that the prime minister was elected, by the national people's congress, and this is a good sign, but until now, he has to form his new government.
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of course, we need more personal in the police and in the army. we send a few thousand to jordan, but they are not back yet. >> mr. ambassador, if i may interrupt you on that point, that is a huge question, right? we've been talking a lot about eastern libya. you very well know that there is a lot of weaponry, that the borders, a lot of these jihadist extremists are able to come into the country because the borders aren't very secure in the eastern part of libya, near benghazi. there is certainly this encampment of these extremist. and with all these security forces and police as you detail out of the country, who's helping keep those groups in check? the very groups that potentially took out our ambassador. >> well, i think maybe the -- because of the government not in control of libya yet, and i think this may be -- maybe this very, very small group, i must tell you, that they are
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responsible for this, terrorist criminal actions, they have -- >> very small, but potentially very powerful. >> very small, but powerful, you know. but they're not big group. and i was reading, you know, the comments about what happened in libya, and you see, i don't even see one comment that they support the attack against the american consulate. we are really shamed, i feel shamed what happened in benghazi. this is the city i born, this is the city i grown in, this is the city i studied in. and the people of libya, they do appreciate very much the american support from the beginning. and without your help, without your support, without the other, the nato countries and some arab country' support, i would not be here today. gadhafi will take over libya again, and he will kill most of the people. but i think we need the american to help us, not only during the revolution, we need them to help us now. this is the time. we have to understand that there is no option for the libyan,
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except to establish a dmix countries, which we can deal with the world. we will not ever permit this kind of terrorist group to take over of libya and lead us to destruct our relation, and the hub of our people who have been waiting for a long time. >> and the libyan ambassador to the united states, mr. ambassador, we appreciate it. it's significant he said, we needed the help then, we still need the help now. but to libya's credit, and people are writing to this morning, they immediately did come out and condemn the violence. and if you look at the recent polls, the majority of libyans do support americans and americans' efforts. >> and it was clear the ambassador certainly does not want to see a reduction in the u.s. presence in libya. not now, not anytime soon. there is breaking news from all over the region right now, all over the middle east. stay with us, our continuing coverage will continue in just a moment. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects.
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exclusive to the military, and commitment is not limited to one's military oath. the same set of values that drive our nation's military are the ones we used to build usaa bank. with our award winning apps that allow you to transfer funds, pay bills or manage your finances anywhere, anytime. so that wherever your duty takes you, usaa bank goes with you. visit us online to learn what makes our bank so different. welcome back here to "starting point." i want to begin with a roundup.
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there's so much happening globally. this new information that we're just getting here at cnn, with regard to all these clashes in the middle east this morning, yemen. let's begin with yemen. the capital, sanaa, really the latest flashpoint in this wave of anti-american violence spreading across the muslim world. hundreds of protesters rioted outside the u.s. embassy in the capital of sanaa overnight. the crowds scaled the embassy walls. they smashed windows. you see them there, hanging, banging on the burning tires. yemeni security forces, they were firing shots into the air, just trying to disperse the crowds. you see here on the ground. yemen's embassy in washington has now already come forward, condemned this attack, and says the situation at the embassy is under control and there were no casualties. >> not just in yemen either. tensions running high in cairo too. riot police firing warning shots there and tear gas outside the u.s. embassy overnight, trying to keep hundreds of protesters from storming the building there. demonstrators angered by the anti-islam film produced in the
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u.s. they were throwing molotov cocktails and rocks at the embassy. six egyptian police officers were injured there. >> right now, en route to the libyan coast, these two navy destroyers. also, as far as bolstering security, this elite marine unit on its way to the capital of libya, to tripoli, to protect u.s. interests there. an independent judicial committee has been set up by the libyan government to investigate the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi that killed those four americans, including ambassador christopher stevens. u.s. officials now believe that attack was planned and carried out by al qaeda sympathizers who may have used all the demonstrators simply as a diversion to carry out their plot. >> so yemen, cairo, libya. now we have new video to cnn from iran. the semi-official forest news agency reports students have gathered in front of the swiss embassy to protest that
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anti-islamic film. police have set up a line to protect the swiss embassy and diplomats. why the swiss embassy? the united states does not have an embassy in tehran, to the swiss embassy usually handles american issues there. we want to bring in a special guest right now, jim frederic from "time" magazine. and from cnn elise labatt is at the state debate. let's start with you on the latest from yemen. >> we just received a statement from the president of the yemen, extending his sincere apologies to the people of the united states and to president obama for the attack. said he's going to launch a thorough investigation, protect the embassy, do everything he can to protect u.s. diplomatic facilities, and make sure the people that were responsible are brought to justice. he describes the protesters as a rowdy group that's trying to
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derail u.s./yemeni relations. and this is what's so interesting, john, is that the u.s. helped get rid of abdelul saleh, and he knows he has to strike a critical balance nah will help with his fragile economic situation, but there is a country with a lot of extremism. they reach out to the yemenis and say, listen, americans are our friend. they don't look like that to the yemeni who are mad about this movie and they see drone strikes in that country. so it's a delicate balance that president is walking, but want to make sure the yemenis are on top of this situation. >> elise labott, stand by.
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i want to bring in jim frederic. this is the cover of the magazine. ill thought it was interesting, if we could just share this. lifting the veil of why, how you chose this cover, how you knew this story wasn't going away. >> wednesday is when we're supposed to finish the issue. we had something completely different planned. yesterday morning we had the morning editorial meeting, how big a story is this going to be? obviously, the death of the ambassador is a huge tragedy. it's not really clear how it's going, but just sort of fete like it was building and building, and let's go ahead and do it. we ripped up the magazine, we decided to do this cover story. probably six, eight hours into it as the whole staff is going crazy trying to finish this, one of our very top editors said it was a great choice, because, you know, late last afternoon, he said, it's very clear that this story is going away, that the bad news is i have no idea where this story is going. so it's just changing. >> we went to bed last night, it was libya and cairo. woke up this morning, it
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involves yemen and iran. what is the scope of this, the increasing scope of this, what does that signify to you? >> i'm glad we went with the line that we did, which is, has the arab spring made the world more unstable and more unsafe, especially for the west and the united states. >> is there really an answer? i've read the piece. >> it's definitely early days. these countries are in the first flower of democratically elected governments. i would say early indications are that we are entering a new world where it actually might be more unstable. it actually might be more unsafe for the united states and the west going forward. it's -- you know, these could become fair, stable, safe, united states democracies. but a lot of the elected officials in these governments, you know, the muslim brotherhood, which may or may not be moderate or left of certain other groups, have not historically been the greatest friends of the united states, which is why i think you had president obama on telemundo yesterday saying, you know, we
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don't know if they're an ally or a foe, which is interesting considering their the second largest recipient of international aid. >> and we were going to be forgiving that $1 billion debt as well. there's so much to cover in this piece. we'll do that. stay with us all morning long, please, sir. but coming up in our next hour, to just weigh in on all of these breaking developments, we have senator john mccain and democratic whip congressman steny hoyer. >> we also have shirley sherrod, a different subject altogether. she was in the news so much. >> remember her story? >> the subject of race. she has a new book out, talking about her life, her struggles with some really new interesting revelations. you'll want to stay with us. you're watching "starting point." ♪
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taken out of context, forced out of her job, attacked from all sides after the late andrew brightbart posted a video of her speaking at an naacp event in 2010. >> but -- >> but -- >> he only had shown part of that speech, one that showed her in the worst possible light. here is a small sample of what he posted online. >> the first time i was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm i didn't give him the full force of what i could do. >> brightbart's aclip did not show what came next in her speech, which was this. >> what i've come to realize that we have to work together. we have to overcome the divisions that we have.
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we have to get to the point where race exists, but it doesn't matter. >> now shirley sherrod is back in the public eye with a new book called "the courage to hope." we both read it. since this whole controversy erupted well over a year ago now, what's changed in your life? where are you now? >> i'm right back home, doing the work i had done for years prior to going to usda. working in my community, trying to help small farmers, trying to help get a process center for vegetables started. working on racial healing in the area. it's working. >> in the book you really open up the book talking about the media circus. and, look, it was. i was in atlanta and i interviewed you in 2010. i just remember -- i'm sure you were spinning because of all of it. and i just want to read this quote from your book. i was three days into a media
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storm that had blown apart my life and challenged my very identity and purpose. maybe for some people the experience would have been just another episode in an ongoing political drama but i had never sought or enjoyed the limelight. i'm sure it's sort of like a love/hate perhaps with the media. we helped you get your story out there but at the same time it was a bit of a circus. >> right. i've never really looked for the limelight. to have my whole life, my -- well, to be cast as a racist, something i had worked against all of my life, was just so unbelievable. but it was good to have -- to be able to use the press again to help get the truth out, which is what i wanted to do. >> you had so much contact with so many people around that time. president obama called you shortly after you were forced out of the usda. you said you appreciated that conversation at the time. but in your book, you wrote some interesting words about the
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president. you said i was disappointed that he caved so easily at the first hint of trouble. i was sad he was so easily cowed by right wing bullies. neither the white house nor secretary vilsack had even bothered to check the facts before they threw me out. you seem disillusioned by president obama and i wonder if that faded at aall. >> i really support the president. yes, they made a mistake initially, in my case, but i think he has done a great job. i support him and will vote for him. >> in the book, you talk to your husband when he was first elected about the idea of this post-racial america. and in the book you said you were skeptical at the beginning of the administration that we would see any gains during the president's administration. we're now at the end, nearly, of his first term, maybe his only term. where is america in terms of racial harmony? >> you know, it's sad. you would think we had gotten beyond a lot of what's
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happening. the president can't say anything that -- he's challenged on everything he says. i had hoped it wouldn't be that way. but it's sad that in terms of race relations, we take one step forward, three steps back. >> i just want to ask you, though -- not challenge you but curious. this moment of clarity with the president where you really do write, though, in the book, where is my audacious president? it almost changed your mind. >> when you look at how -- the things he has tried to do and how he is challenged so much, you can't say that he hasn't tried. but when it comes to race, when -- it's just a subject in this country we have not dealt with. and it gets in the way of just about everything. >> i have to ask, since this all happened, andrew brightbart has passed away. what are your thoughts about the
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late mr. brightbart, who was central in this controversy? >> i was sad that he passed. i didn't get to meet him. i didn't get to talk to him. >> you never got to talk to him? >> no. you know, there was no apology from him. he did something to me that was wrong. but things happen. >> room for forgiveness in your heart? >> yes. >> you forgive him? >> yes. >> you forgive andrew breitbart? >> yes. >> how long did it take you to get there? >> not long. when you look at my life i've had these -- i call them bumps in the road. you get beyond them and keep working. keep going. >> we did enjoy the book called "the courage to hope." >> fantastic. >> good luck. >> thank you. a disturbing story out of germany, reports that the u.s. consulate in berlin has been evacuated after a suspicious
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envelope was intercepted there. we'll take you live to berlin. also, we're live as chaos is spreading throughout the middle east this morning. these pictures new from yemen. clashes there on the street. fires, breaching the main gates, scaling the walls outside the u.s. embassy. >> so much going on. coming up in our next hour, to weigh in on all these subjects, senator john mccain and steny hoyer. ♪
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good morning. i'm john berman. >> i am brooke baldwin. it's been another busy news morning. we're talking specifically about the middle east. we're now waking up and talking about yemen, specifically. our starting point, new developments here. look at people scaling the walls, setting wall inting tir. the u.s. embassy. the situation is now under control. >> fresh protests outside the u.s. embassy in cairo, egypt. and in libya, u.s. war ships are on the move to protect americans off the coast there. we're also learning about the deadly attack on the u.s. consulate in libya that killed the american ambassador and three staffers. we have word now it could have been a planned attack, planned and coordinated.
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it is thursday, september 13th. "starting point" begins right now. pretty quickly this morning, apologizing to president obama and all americans for this attack here in yemen on the u.s. embassy in the capital city. the situation there appears, despite what you're looking at, appears under control. that's what we're being told. this, after thousands of protesters stormed the u.s. embassy in the capital city. some were able to breach the embassies outer wall here. security forces were firing shots up in the air just to try to disburse these crowds. the government there says there are no casualties at the embassy. >> also iran news agency is reporting student protests outside the swiss agency in
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tehran. >> new street battles in cairo near the u.s. embassy with an exchange of molotov cocktails. tear gas between police and demonstrators there. u.s. officials say they are convinced the deadly attack on the u.s. consulate, just a country away in libya, benghazi, was well organized. that is news, was well organized, be preplanned possibly by al qaeda-connected elements. ambassador chris stevens and three others were killed. the obama administration with a show of military force, sending war ships to the coast of lib bea. >> the pentagon is flexing its military muscle in response to the consulate in benghazi, libya. armed with cruise missiles, tomahawks that can be programmed to hit specific targets in the country. also marines are headed there to help bolster security around the country. in tripoli, barbara starr is at
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the pentagon with the latest. barbara? >> john, brooke, a concern about everything that is unfolding overnight. here at the pentagon i can tell you a moment ago a senior pentagon official telling me they are monitoring that situation back in yemen around the clock, as they saw those pictures unfold and the protesters in yemen climb the embassy gate. where were the yemen security forces? yes, they got it under control. this is the issue now. local security forces able to control the situation. protesters should not have been allowed to get close enough to that embassy gate in yemen to be able to climb it. concern everywhere. the two war ships off the coast of libya, back in libya. they are there, equipped with tomahawk missiles, ready to go if enough intelligence is collected, of course, and the president orders an into action. what seems to be emerging in libya is this belief of growing
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intelligence that some type of al qaeda-related affiliate or sympathizing group was responsible for the attack in benghazi. what you have? unmanned drones flying over eastern libya collecting intelligence. we are told every effort is being made to look at all of the intelligence, intercepts, communications, overhead imagery. see what they can locate, determine who was responsible and then they have these options now in place quite candidly to present to president obama. if there is some type of action, it can be done two ways. it can be done by libyan security forces, perhaps, but now the piece is in place in case the decision is made to move ahead with u.s. military force. >> barbara starr at the pentagon. u.s. war ships off the coast. thank you so much for giving us the latest developments. we'll talk to you again in a little bit. >> this is jim frederick, international editor of "time" magazine. out on newsstands today, this is
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the cover here. agents of outrage, diplomats murdered, the new calculus of violence against america. many points you make, from this film from some american to this sort of collective -- i don't know if i want to say the perfect storm that led to some of what's happening the past couple of days. please jump in this conversat n conversation. >> because of the industry of outrage on the internet there's a million and one blaspheomous things that muslims could get outraged by. it's not a global conspiracy, but there are interested parties in whipping up a kind of outrage into a toxic mix of these protests worldwide. i think that's what we're seeing here. i think that's one of the reasons we call it a new calculus of american danger, because these things are so
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asymmetric, not planned by states or dictators, the way that they were even before the arab spring. through the global mind of the internet and communication between some of these parties you do have this global eruption of anger. >> jim frederick, hang on for a second. we want to go to libya to find out the latest developments on the ground there. jomana karadsheh is in libya. what is the situation there this morning? >> well, here in the capital tripoli, john, beefed-up security around the capital. driving around this morning, we did see more security around even government installations, government buildings.
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there seems to be concern about these attacks that took place in benghazi. we did hear from libyan authorities that they are stepping security up around for admissions around embassies here in tripoli and also in benghazi. is this enough? they have already promised to step up security. in the past, they were already providing security for the foreign missions. we still saw that attack take place at the consulate in benghazi and previous attacks targeting foreign missions in that eastern city. the big thing here is what will the government do next? are we going to see some sort of action taken against these growing extremists groups in the eastern part of the country? >> jomana, we've seen pictures of people in libya with signs of support for the united states. is that something that's actually visible to you on the streets? >> reporter: john, in the city of benghazi and even here in tripoli, people took to the
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stre streets against what happened, saying that this is not representative of the sentiment of the libyan people. many libyans saying they are very grateful for the role that the united states and western powers played here last year, militarily supporting libya's revolutionaries in their efforts to oust moammar gaud adhafi. they say it would not have been possible without the support they got. they say this is not representative of libyas aa whole. these are small groups but they are also demanding that their government here really take action against these groups and confront them. >> jomana karadsheh joining us live in libya. senator john mccain is joining us live this morning from capitol hill. welcome. good morning. >> good morning. >> i know you considered ambassador stevens a very, very close friend. you had been to libya twice, correct me if i'm wrong, since last july. >> yeah, last july and a couple
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of times before that. and also i was with him in benghazi. he is a truly great american. >> he is a great american. clearly his passions for libya was clear. and i want to ask you to share a story with me, if you will, in a moment. we have to begin, sir, with yemen. i'm sure you've been watching these pictures playing out, chaos. first we had egypt, then libya. now this morning, yemen. we're looking at it now. how do you interpret what's happening there? >> i interpret it as an effort to stir up sentiment against the united states, using this bogus, quote, film. yemen is basically a failed state. it is more disturbing that in cairo we have been unable to have the egyptian government exert ntrol. the host nation's responsibility is to protect an embassy, but at the same time, egypt is of vital importance to us to the middle
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east, to peace there as everything in the cultural and historic center in the arab world. i was glad to hear president morsi condemn these attacks. but these are very difficult times. and this virus is probably going to spread to other countries in the arab world. >> senator mccain, in your opinion, did it take president morsi a little too long to do so? >> yes. and, more importantly, they have a pretty big army. and they could have protected our embassy. and it's understandable why colleagues and friends of mine, and americans, are very upset. i would also like to point out again that egypt is critical. and we have to be very careful and measured in our response. >> well, let's talk about the response from the u.s. right now. >> sure. >> president obama gave an interview to telemundo where he described our relationship with
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egypt and the new government there, morsi, using language i hadn't heard before, senator mccain. let's listen to this. >> i don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. they are a new government that is trying to find its way. they were democratically elected. i think we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. i think it's still a work in progress, but certainly in this situation what we're going to expect is that they are responsive to our assistance that our embassy is protected, that our personnel is protected. >> not an enemy and not an ally. especially considering egypt is the second largest recipient of foreign aid from us right now, what do you make of the president's statement? >> first of all, i think the president is basically right. i hate to get into these word parsings but they have gone from a staunch ally under mubarak to
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one which is obviously seeking its -- a country that's seeking its own way. but we have to have a good relationship with with them or we should make every effort to have a good relationship with them. but we also have the right to demand certain things, as we've already talked about. protection of our embassy. not sheltering terrorist groups. preventing the kinds of incidents that just took place from happening in the future. but there's no doubt that egypt is going through a significant transformation and we have -- it is in our interest -- i'm not talking about egypt's interest, but it's in our interest to have a working relationship with them, given their position in the arab world. >> senator mccain, be let's move the conversation to libya. >> sure. >> and with regard to libya, you were very much a strong advocate about intervening and what was happening there. we now know your friend, ambassador stevens, i read how he arrived on a greek cargo ship
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to take part in help spreading that democracy. he truly was a hero. i want to ask you about where we stand in libya in a moment but if we could just pause, this is a personal loss for you, is it not? >> he's such a wonderful man. he came to benghazi on a cargo ship, lived in a hotel in benghazi. his life was under threat every hour, every single day. he loved the libyans. he loved the country. the last thing that chris stevens would want is for us to cut off relations with that country. it's a weak government. there is al qaeda that came in. there's thousands of weapons all over that country. but as you noticed also, the libyan people want us. they're grateful for us. he and i were in the square in tr tripoli on election night, and they recognized him and they recognized me and they said, thank you, america. thank you. so, it's not as if we are facing a hostile population there.
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in fact, the majority of the libyan people proved in the election, they rejected islamist candidates and voted for moderate candidates. >> but senator -- >> go ahead. >> even though they rejected that, you're absolutely right, they rejected the islamist candidate, there are still pockets. i don't know how large the pock pockets are. but we're talking in eastern libya, where you talk about the sophisticated weaponry these jihadists are able to sneak into this country because the borders are not protected. we saw the pictures play out of this arab spring and revolution, and gadhafi being taken down. now we're wondering, be was it worth it? what are ha what have we left behind? >> it is worth it, in many respects. they need our assistance, not money. they have plenty of money. they need to enforce their boreds. >> are we helping them?
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>> yes, we are. we need to train their police and military. again, it's not expenditure of american tax dollars. it's providing the kind of assistance that any country that is forming up after being the subject of a brutal dictatorship for so many years. so -- go ahead. >> senator mccain, over the last 24, 36 hours, politics has become a big part of what's going on in the middle east. the candidate, governor mitt romney, came out strongly against how the president has handled this over the past couple of days. i want to play a sound bite, which was reinforcing statements he made the night before. >> i think it's a -- a terrible course for america to stand in apology for our values. that instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached that the first response
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of the united states must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. an apology for america's values are never the right course. >> governor mccain -- governor romney rather, sorry. had the timing incorrect with his statement right there. the statement that came from the embassy in cairo happened well before the breach inside the walls of the embassy right there. what do you make of the statement overall? >> i do think it was a very weak statement. that's why the embassy withdrew it later on. i think that the role of the egyptian government, as we agree, must protect our embassy and we should very strongly condemn that failure. the whole tick tock back and forth is not something i'm totally aware of or care much
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about in light of the loss of chris stevens and three other americans. >> i don't want to read too much in your demeanor, senator, but it does appear that governor romney's response makes you feel a little uncomfortable. at least it looks like that right now. in the wake of the violence, the rush by republicans, including mitt romney, sarah palin and scores of other conservative critics to condemn him, meaning the president, for policies they claim help precipitate the attacks is as tortured in its reasoning as it is unseemly in its timing. that's from mark salter. >> we disagree from time to time. that statement was taken down by the embassy because it was clearly not strong enough concerning what was happening at the embassy. now the tick tock back and forth is something, frankly, i didn't pay attention to. i do know this.
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americans are outraged when our embassy is attacked and the egyptian government does not take the proper measures to protect it. how much that affects our relationship with egypt, i think, is something we have to carefully calibrate, recognizing how important a role egypt is in e entire middle east. >> how much of the tick tock, really, sir, should mitt romney play a part in? in moments like this, as you point out, losing an american hero, should he not have remained above the political fray? >> look, i believe that there are so many things that the obama administration is not doing, including my outrage that president obama has not spoken up for 209,000 people that have been massacred in syria that we sit back and watch murdered, rapes, gang rapes in syria. iraq is unraveling because of our residual force in afghanistan. they all know we're leaving and karzai becomes more and more
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erratic in his behavior. this latest showdown between the president and the prime minister of israel is all -- much more troubling to me than whether mitt romney said the right thing or the wrong thing. >> senator, i'm sorry, would you advise him -- >> one thing i don't do, because i'm the loser -- >> senator mccain! >> is advise people. you don't want a loser to advise -- >> you are a winner for coming on the show with us this morning. it was very nice to see you. >> could i just say, this conversation needs to continue, not only about this incident but the entire middle east. and could i just say again, i believe the libyan people are grateful to america and i believe that we need to continue to be involved in that very difficult situation. thaven thanks for having me on. >> thank you, senator mccain. i think a lot of people would agree with you. we'll keep that conversation
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going. we do have to take a quick break. john berman and myself will be back after this. they have carb steady, with carbs that digest slowly to help minimize blood sugar spikes. [ male announcer ] glucerna hunger smart. a smart way to help manage hunger and diabetes.
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new information this morning about a scare, an american worker fell ill there suddenly in berlin. it does not appear, fred, to be the scare that we thought it was. >> reporter: absolutely. i just got off the phone with the berlin police department, john. they tell me it was a false alarm, that they say there was a special chemicals unit of the berlin police right here and have not found any traces of chemicals in that department.
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as you said this morning a man came to a visa counter, handed over his documents. after that, an employee fell ill, saying she was feeling dizzy, feeling ill. she was taken to a hospital, is what we were initially told. we now find that she was never taken to a hospital but was treated in an ambulance. firefighters and police and departments are leaving the scene. things seem to be getting back to normal here at the consulate in berlin. >> it is that kind of morning, where we're following every little development. glad this turned out to be nothing. >> back to the embassies very much on alert as outrage grows over this anti-islam movie. miguel marquez spoke to one of the actresses in this film. why she says she was misled. next. hot? check out the latest collection of snacks from lean cuisine. creamy spinach artichoke dip, crispy garlic chicken spring rolls. they're this season's must-have accessory. lean cuisine. be culinary chic.
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welcome back to "starting point." yemen's president apologizing to president obama and all americans for the attack on the embassy in the capital city of s aanaa, becoming the latest flashpoint of anti-american violence spreading across the world. >> those clashes steeple to be over, for now anyway. hundreds of protesters storm ed the embassy in the capital of sanaa overnight, scaling the embassy wall, smashing windows and setting fires. the situation at the embassy is finally under control. elise, what are you hearing out of yemen? >> help iing the protesters
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disperse and a lot of protesters breached the gate. so helping them disperse. we understand all u.s. embassy personnel are safe and accounted for. no injuries. but are in different locations. if you see what happened at the u.s. consulate in libya, i think the state department is trying to make sure that not everybody is in one location. and the embassy didn't know these protests would happen, but had a feeling, sent out an emergency message to all u.s. citizens in yemen, warning that these protests could be coming, to get violent and stay away from the embassy. if you see the president of yemen issuing that statement, condemning these protests and saying these are rogue elements that are trying to derail the relationship. >> so, let's take this a step further, elise, beyond simply the middle east. the protests are percolating. what about worldwide, is the state department reviewing security worldwide now? >> i think right now they're focused on the middle east.
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when you're looking at what's happening, and then we just had that scare in berlin right now, berlin, germany. the state department really reeling right now, trying to get all posts. what they do is have these emergency committees that are ordered to review their security posture and see what additional reinforcements might be needed, either from the u.s. as barbara starr has been reporting. u.s. marines are on the ready to perhaps help reinforce any embassy that might need some help around the world. but also the host government. one of the big problems that the u.s. had with the libyans is that they weren't able to help secure the u.s. consulate. right now the u.s. is looking at this difficult post, not just in the middle east but also in other muslim countries right now in so-called hot spots, certainly afghanistan, which is heavily reinforced but also in other countries, to try to see what needs to be done. really shocking as to what's been happening at these u.s.
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embassies. they just seem to keep proliferating, if you will. >> they certainly do. elise, thank you. >> steny hoyer from maryland, powerful man in washington and in congress. like all of us, congressman, you woke up to these pictures from yemen, yet another u.s. embassy in the middle east being stormed, the walls breached by protesters there. what do you make of these protests this morning and have you heard anything of how they started? >> i have not yet been briefed wholly. i think all of us are dramatically reminded of the violent nature of societies that are contending to establish democracy or to establish au autocratic leaderships in their countries. we've been the subject of attack from those violent elements. we are reminded of the danger that our men and women, who are
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sent abroad to represent the united states of america, to promote democracy and freedom around the world, we know the danger to which they're exposed. the tragic death of ambassador stevens, sean smith and others in libya point out how dangerous the daily lives are in these areas of the world. we express our deep sympathy. but i'm sure that every embassy in the world has been put on high alert, particularly in areas where we know there are violent proclivities but also around the world, to make sure our embassies are on guard, americans are on guard and we keep our people safe. >> we all express our sympathies. i think all americans around the country do to the loss of life in libya overnight. politics has become a big discussion over the past 24 hou hours. democrats have been extremely critical of how mitt romney has handled the situation. he hasn't been the only one
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talking about politics. i want to play you a clip of an interview president obama did with cbs last night, talking about governor romney and the politics of this. >> there's a broader lesson to be learned here. governor romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. and as president one of the things i've learned is you can't do that. it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you thought through the ramifications before you make them. >> this was a bit striking to me, sir. mitt romney did receive criticism for, quote, unquote, politicizing the events in the middle east. president obama seeks out this interview with cbs to make this statement about governor romney. isn't he just as guilty as politicizing the events in the middle east? >> not at all. you're asking me the question and the questions aarose because, in my opinion, mitt romney from a political perspective, made some reckless statements without the facts. and as a result, reporters
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started asking questions about that, to which president obama and myself just now and others are responding to. i thought condoezza rice's response -- the foreign policy spokesperson at their convention -- was the proper response. she expressed deep sympathy and she expressed a view that we needed to keep our personnel safe and we ought to remember our personnel who are aabroad. she didn't get into politics. she didn't get into criticism. we all need to know the facts of what happened here. it is clear, however, that mr. romney responded not to a statement of the administration, not a statement of policy but of a statement made at the embassy in benghazi in an attempt to quiet trouble. it is ironic that mr. romney, who in his response at the convention to his nomination said one of the first things he was going to do was defense of
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religion, to make sure our first amendment and respect for all religions was paid attention to and was honored. frankly, it would seem that the statement of the personnel at the embassy, in trying to quiet, was expressing that very american principle that mr. romney said was so portant. so i think the president's response was measured, very frankly, last night. but i think this is a time for americans to come together, to understand that our personnel abroad are in harm's way and are presenting our values and are trying to stabilize some very unstable areas of the world for the benefit of this country, its safety and for the benefit of the entire world. >> i want to move aaway from politics, congressman, and sort of more to your point of where we stand today. just an american looking aat the pekts playing out on the streets i'm left wondering at what point this will all stop.
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in addition to that, talking to the international editor of "time" magazine, speaking of the post era, arab spring, the new genre, if you will, in asking about the situation in libya, john mccain said we need to train their police. it's not expenditure of american tax dollars but providing the assistance tony kre that's forming up after being the subject of a brutal dictatorship for so many years. congressmen, where do we, as a nation going forward, how do we help in doing that? how much, though, does libya really need to step up and push these radical groups out? >> i agree with john mccain. i think he's absolutely right. it is not a time to retreat or to turn and run. it is a time. and, of course, america has no intention of doing that. america, in a bipartisan way, has been very resolute in confronting those that would
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terrorize our people but terrorize their own countries as well. the libyans have apologized and the libyan leadership said it would make efforts and we need to give great assistance to those efforts, to make their country stable and secure. no country has been free of not having terrorist acts perpetrated in its own country. but clearly we need to ensure that the libyans and other host governments do everything they can to keep our personnel sec e secure, as it is our onlgs to keep their personnel safe here in the you state. >> steny hoyer, thank you very much for joining us this morning. >> thank you very much. jim frederick, we've been talking about this. arab spring replaced harsh dictators with a flowering of
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d democracies but these government, weak mandates, poor security forces have made the region more chaotic and unstable place. that leaves me a little worried. >> that's really the heart of the matter, isn't it? that's why we've been talking about this new genre of middle east crisis, asynchronized attacks. the state departments in these countries themselves are unable to stop them or seem to be, or in some cases even seem to be condoning them. we all hope this crisis will blow over soon enough. i think it introduces a new danger where if there are elements that can whip up a crowd any time they want, based on something asiri dick will you say as an amateurish, 12-minute video, then we're in for a really long road to hoe. if the outrage machine can be turned on that quickly and that easily, we're losing a much broader info war. if the united states
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informational apparatus is not able to stand up immediately and say, come on, this is ridiculous. >> i want to talk more about the message we're sending to the countries, regimes around this region. the president's statement on telemundo saying egypt is not an ally or an enemy seems like a major policy statement to me, a message he has never sent before. >> i think people in policy, government, journalism were astonished by this statement. i think it was a very powerful statement. not only specifically to egypt because, yes, under mub aarak, of american foreign policy and middle east security. so for president obama to say you don't automatically get that status just by being egypt. it matters what government is in egypt, i think that sent a very powerful message to president morsi, who had been called to task that he hadn't really said
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anything, let alone condemning the attacks within 24 hours of president obama's very publicly delivered message. it appears they had a conversation afterward. morsi did come forward with a statement against the attacks. he is a member of the muslim brotherhood, may not have been as powerful as they wanted. >> hang on, because right now into cnn, now confirming the man in this photo is sean smith, state department computer expert, one of the men killed outside the embassy in benghazi, libya. also killed in the attack, ambassador chris stevens and two others whose names have yet to be released. >> husband and father of two. many of those protests began as a result, as we've been talking about, this film, amateur film considered anti-islam. the actors and actresses in the movie say they were duped. >> we spoke to one of the actresses in the film.
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welcome back"starting point," everyone. the protests sparked by what's being called an anti-islam film. the actors of that film says they were misled about its intent and purpose. >> the actress, who asked not to be identified, said it didn't originally include a profit muhammad character. >> this actress who does not want to be identified says she was horrified about what happened. she respond ed ed to a generic casting call for what was billed as an action/adventure film set
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2,000 years ago called at the time desert warrior. you find yourself in an international -- >> nightmare. that's what i find myself in the middle of, of a world that i prayed for. for god to help. killing is never right. >> in her portion of the script, the prophet muhammad character was called george, who was referred to during filming as either master george or father master never muhammad. she was paid $5,000 but says the writer/produce writer/producer lied about the content of the film. >> i feel badly for that man
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that was killed, everyone who was hurt. he said tell the media i'm tired of the muslims killing innocent people. >> the motivation was to spark some change within. >> only these few -- fraction of the fraction of these very dangerous men, if we could somehow open up the eyes. >> the actress doesn't want her name used because her family is fearful. but she isn't. >> what's your overriding emotion? is it fear? is it anger? >> anger. it hurt. i'm not afraid. my husband is afraid for me. but i'm not. i'm pretty pissed. >> the actress also apology ied to muslims. >> how about that? i would be, too, if i were duped into this film and to see the word george and then george was duped over into muhammad? what do we know?
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>> what do you make of this? >> for a story of such international impart, one of the most bizarre aspects. it would be absolutely hilarious and ridiculous if it hadn't turned so deadly serious and clearly is impacting the people's lives and the people in it. we know precious little about this movie. a 13-minute trailer was posted in june or july. >> we don't even know if there's a full movie. >> that may be all that there is. he claimed to be israeli-american and had 100 jewish backers and $500,000 budget. the ap is doing the best work in trying to figure out who b aacile -- who he is, how this thing was made. hollywood. this clearly was, even if there was a casting call, clearly was a wildcat production. pruks. hollywood doesn't have any place in california, permits. usually to make a film you have to have a permit for street filming or whatnot.
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there's none of that. clearly this was made under the cover of night almost. entire cast and crew is completely disavowing it. if you watch the 11, 12, 13 minutes it's clearly dubbed and the name muhammad -- all the ininflammatory dialogue. i believe this cast and crew. >> it seemed to happen within the egyptian community? >> ap is doing the best work to find out who this sam bacile pseudonym is. they traced had his number to someone who appears to be an egyptian cop in t-- copped in te arab world. it had been on youtube for several months. >> about 10% or so of the population there? >> to be clear, because i think people waking up are wondering what's the connection to everything that's happening in
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the middle east. you have this film that winds up being shown in egypt, leading to the riots aat the u.s. embassy aa couple of days ago and also the u.s. consulate in benghazi. perhaps even uses of diversion, perhaps this franchise of al qaeda, they then attack with rpgs the consulate, ultimately killing the ambassador. >> right. in a fast-moving story, that is a great encapsulation. >> way to go. >> thanks. >> all we do know is that there's a lot of unrest in the middle east this morning. a lot to follow. "starting point" is back in a moment. me? alright emma, i know it's not your favorite but it's time for your medicine, okay? you ready? one, two, three. [ both ] ♪ emma, emma bo-bemma ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma ♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma very good sweety, how do you feel?
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it's five mips till the the top of the hour. will the federal reserve fund more stimulus? we'll find out today when fed chief ben bernanke speaks today. when he speaks, we listen. the last big fed meeting before the electric. lot of political weight on the event today. >> that is big news. so is this. are you lining up yet? preorders start tomorrow on the new iphone 5 in stores next friday. >> it's gotten taller. it's lost a little weight. s siri -- thank goodness, a little smarter, too. she also cooks for you. no, we wish she would. it's supposed to be faster as well. >> coming to you from the product area outside of the apple event. i got my hands on the new iphone 5. first thing you'll notice when you put it in your hands is the screen is taller. it's a four-inch screen
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diagonally versus the old iphone, 3 1/2 inches. we'll put the old phone next to t you can see, yep, it's taller. that makes a big difference. you can get an extra row of icons here. it's 20% lighter than the previous iphone as we've seen. they're always thinner, lighter, faster. no exception here. some of the other features include the ability for it to run on the lt e! networks, much faster data connection. also has a smaller dot connector. there's no wrong way to put it in. it's a new digital dot connector. headphone jack. also on the bottom. one of the new features is a new came camera. you now have the ability to take panoraaa photos. >> typical use, tap and say i want to take a panorama photo. you hold your phone vertical to get the maximum area and you sweep your scene.
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it tells you what pace to sweep it at to get the perfect image. >> reporter: we also got to see some of the new apps in action, mapping application, voice turn-by-turn applications and passbook which allows you to store things like store cards, coupons and airline tickets. dan simon, cnn, san francisco. >> i could get a panoramic photo of john berman's head. "starting point" back in a moment. sleek new styling... sophisticated dual cockpit design, and sport sculpted seats. available chevrolet mylink infotainment system. the all-new 2013 chevrolet malibu. ♪ refined comfort to get you in a malibu state of mind no matter what state you live in. ♪
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